Chat transcript: NBA playoffs edition   

Updated: April 23, 2007, 3:10 PM ET

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Bill Simmons: What's happening? Let's get going ...

Steve (Toronto): Raptors fans or Vince? There's no way around it, one of these two is about to obliterate the vengeance scale as we know it. Which is it going to be?

Bill Simmons: That's a great question. I haven't been this excited about a non--Boston NBA first--round series in awhile -- not sure casual fans realize how diehard the Raptors fans are and how much of a grudge they still hold against Vince. It's like when Clemens returned to Boston in '99, you will be able to feel the hatred thru your TV.

Bill Simmons: Vince's career will be shaped by the next two weeks, in my opinion. If he plays scared and stinks the joint out, that will be the defining moment of his career other than flying back to get his degree the day of Game 7 against Philly in 2001. If he comes through and really sticks it to the Toronto fans, that will be great, too. Either way, it's the most intriguing subplot of Round 1.

Richard (Atlanta): Time for you to be NFL GM for a change. If you're Oakland do you take Calvin Johnson, JaMarcus Russell or trade down?

Bill Simmons: I like Russell -- have been impressed by the stories about him and like the way he handles himself in interviews. He has the right amount of swagger, there's just something about him. I'd take him. Even his name sounds cool. I'm excited to see his rating for arm strength in madden 2008.

Chris (Ft. Worth, Tx.): Are people crazy or what? Do you honestly think that Golden State has any hope against Dallas. OK, regular season is one thing, playoff time is another. I say Mavs dispose of them in 5, not saying it won't be a close 5 games but nonetheless Mavs finish them off fairly easily.

Bill Simmons: Every spring there's one team that gets "upset buzz" and it's the Warriors this spring ... but I do think there's something to it, for three reasons. First, they have GREAT fans -- it's a tough place to win if the crowd is into it. Second, Nellie knows that Mavs team so well, he's like Harrison Ford in Firewall, he built the system and now has to break into it. (Gawd-awful movie by the way.) And third, the Warriors have hit their stride lately, I just feel like they've evolved into a dangerous offensive team, Baron Davis has never played this well in his life. They'll go small and try to exploit mismatches -- like, whoever Dirk is guarding will get iso'ed, stuff like that. The line should be lower than +900, that's for sure, I think Dallas wins in 7.

Craig (Kalamazoo, Michigan):: As a Tiger fan, how long do I have to wait untill I get to see Zumaya with the closing job?

Bill Simmons: It's completely illogical. It makes no sense. He's the best reliever on the team, but the 3rd-best reliever (Jones) closes games. My buddy Hench and I whine about this all the time because we have Zumaya on our AL team -- when Jones blew the KC game this week, we were going nuts. If you're the Royals, who would you rather face in the 9th -- 103 MPH throwing unhittable Zumaya, or a guy who looks like he was just signed from a semi-pro beer league? It makes no sense.

Robbie (Pound Ridge, NY): Since Peyton won the Super Bowl are we officially going to have to change the term "the Manning face" to "the George Bush face"?

Bill Simmons: No, we still have Eli -- the Manning face lives. But wouldn't this beweird if 2007 was the year of the guys who never did it in the clutch before? Manning, ARod, Vince Carter, Greg Norman winning the US Open ...

Benny (Indianapolis, IN): Do the Lakers have any chance of upsetting the Suns?

Bill Simmons: Only if there's a bus crash or severe food poisoning on Phoenix's side. LA is a mess. Everyone on this year's team is playing worse than they did last year except Kobe. It's strange. Nobody ever questions Phil Jackson, but I thought he did a lousy job the second half of this year. That team needed a kick in the ass and he was sitting there looking like he was watching an off--Broadway play or something.

Jesse (Indianapolis, IN): So I'm curious what you're take is on A-Rod's ridiculous start to the season. Has he finally been embraced by NY and will he play like this when it really matters? Or does he revert to the same old head case we know and love.

Bill Simmons: A-Rod is like pollen -- you can always count on him to make an impact in April in May.

Ryan (Pittsburgh): Sports Guy, what are your thoughts on the Day 6 of 24? For me it's been an upgrade over the previous 2 seasons, but it is still a distant 4th behind seasons 1-3.

Bill Simmons: Wasted year. I'm not giving up on the show, but it's been the worst of the 6 seasons and definitely the worst-written and worst-acted. I'd like to see them do an experimental season where something crazy happens, like Jack has severe diarrhea during the entire season and it's a running theme. "I need to find a bathroom -- WHERE IS THE BATHROOM? WHERE IS IT???????"

Alex Rodriguez (New York, NY): Don't I look like I'm having fun?

Bill Simmons: You're having fun. You're just letting loose and being Alex ...

DJ Smithers, BC: You mentioned that you are trying to take interest in the NHL playoffs. Have you managed to watch (or find) any of the games?

Bill Simmons: I've been watching off and on. My favorite part of the NHL Playoffs is the Versus studio crew ... where did they find those guys? It's like a cable access show. Brian Engblom is gonna figure out the right camera to look at by Round 3. I have complete confidence in him.

Bill Simmons: By the way, I am rooting for the Preds (I have my reasons) but if they get bounced, I'm switching to the Sabres. I think their fans need to win a title more than any other fan base in the NHL Playoffs.

Cameron Dallas, TX: Should I just go ahead and tell my boss I'm taking the rest of the day off and going home to watch your chat? I don't know if I can afford another 3-hour marathon chat without getting fired.

Bill Simmons: Might be a good idea ... I'm just starting to wake up, we could be here for awhile.

David Stern: Mr. Simmons, come into my office, we need to talk ...

Clipper Season Tix Rep: SO, Bill, you renewing your tickets for next season?

Bill Simmons: Still deciding ... I feel like they should be giving every ticketholder money back after that cruddy season. Not only did the team suck, but there were maybe 4-5 entertaining games all season. I'm not kidding. I have no memories of the season other than Livingston blowing out his knee. I feel like Dunleavy owes me 10 grand for what happened.

Marino (Cold Spring NY): With the Yankees traveling to Boston this weekend who do you have for the series?

Bill Simmons: I am worried about this series -- Pettitte scares me and the Karstens-Beckett game worries me, that has all the makings of one of those 11-10 games that the Yanks have a habit of winning. The Sox need to create some distance in these first two months before the Yanks get Wang back and sign Clemens, and of course, we won't. But I'm excited for the series and expecially for Lugo's crotch-grabbing, which has really pushed this season to another level. NESN will only show him from the waist up now, it's like Elvis on the Ed Sullivan show all over again.

Chris (Staten Island, NY): I'm guessing your dream NBA lottery sequence would be to have the Celtics get the top pick but the Knicks pick (now the Bulls pick) have the second?

Bill Simmons: I don't want the Bulls in the top-2, they would own the East for the next decade. My dream sequence would be: 1) Boston, 2) LAC (so I could watch Durant), 3) Chicago (I'd be fine with that), 4) Atlanta (with the pick going to Phoenix).

Pat (Boston): "I believe we (the Celtics) have a playoff-caliber team right now. With no changes." Danny Ainge. Can I get a reaction on this?

Bill Simmons: Hey, if nobody in the local media is going to call you on this crap, you can keep saying it with no repercussions. Don't blame Danny.

Scott, Salt Lake CIty, UT: All experts are picking the Rockets over the Jazz!! But they seem to forget the Jazz beat the Rockets in Houston a couple of weeks ago and the Jazz were struggling at that time!! I think everyone is downplaying how good this team can be!!

Bill Simmons: I like the Rockets but was surprised by the series line (Houston -250). It's a much closer series than that -- the teams match up so strangely, it's hard to say who has more of an advantage. Okur is a terrible matchup for Yao because he pulls him away from the basket, and the Williams--Alston matchup is a huge checkmark for the Jazz. On the other side, Utah has nobody to guard TMac or Yao. It's a really weird series. I think ESPN should hire John Amaechi as the sideline reporter to make it even stranger.

Moo (SF): Do the Yankees fans like A-Rod yet, or will they always hate him no matter what he does? I think he has the worst home run celebration I have ever seen (next to Mike Schmidt's 500th HR dance). p.s. how much weight has A-Rod put on since last year, and has anyone questioned this yet? He looks big.

Bill Simmons: It's a love-hate thing -- A-Rod is like the guy in college who had a fake ID and could buy beer, but everyone hated him, only they knew they needed him to get thru the year. So they put him with him because it's a means to an end, but they'd never hang out with him if he didn't have the fake ID.

All right, that didn't make sense.

Morgan: (Eugene, OR): Please pass along warm 4/20 wishes to the Sports Gal. When is Phish getting back together?

Chipper (NYC): Why does E get to have the smoking hot girlfriend in Entourage? It makes no sense that his girlfriend (Emmanuelle Chriqui) makes all of Vince's girls look ordinary. Your thoughts?

Bill Simmons: I am more excited to see if Entourage can get through the entire season without a single well-crafted joke.

Justin (Boston): How come you didn't write anything about Imus? I thought that was required of Page 2 writers.

Bill Simmons: I hated every single thing about that story and stayed away. Can't stand Imus and was delighted to see him finally get taken down for the things that made him so loathsome, but at the same time, this country is in full Witch Hunt Mode and there's going to be a time when somebody's career is ruined for something that didn't warrant having a career ruined. I just thought the way everything played out was disgusting, the Rutgers press conference/recruiting informercial made me particularly sick, as did the way everyone (public figures, writers, etc) used the story to pump up their own agendas. I hated everything about it. The good news is that it led to Mike and the Mad Dog trying to discuss non-sports issues every morning on WFAN.

Mike (Portland, ME): I heard somewhere that Tommy was going to be the Celtics representative at the upcoming draft lottery? Have you heard anything about this?

Bill Simmons: This is true -- and it's a great idea. There's nobody alive who'd make me feel more confident on May 22nd that we were lucking out than the sight of Tommy Heinsohn -- it's the complete opposite of when we sent ML Carr in '97 and I knew we'd lose as soon as I saw him.

Turdo Sandowicz, Houston: Assuming we can get past Utah in the first round, does my team have a shot against Dallas?

Bill Simmons: I think you do -- TMac loves playing against the Mavs for some reason. I'm not as high as Dallas as others, great regular season team, but I'm not sure they have another gear for the playoffs, I feel like they were in 5th gear all season.

Steve -- Philly: The best part about the clip of the '85 lottery is the commish taking a big deep breath before reaching in for the envelope, like he is thinking "don't screw this up." Have you started receiving any threatening phone calls yet since you posted the link? If your columns stop any time soon, because your on "vacation" we'll know what really happened!

Bill Simmons: You're right, I should have mentioned that yesterday. It's a classic pause.

Bill, Morristown, NJ: Does the whole Imus thing mean that we can't make fun of women's "basketball" anymore? Say it ain't so, Bill.

Bill Simmons: Hell, no! We can still make fun of women's basketball. That's ridiculous.

Dave, Halifax, Nova Scotia: Since we don't get a column before the weekend, how about giving us some NBA predictions? (I like a Suns-Raptors final, but I'm an unabashed homer.)

Bill Simmons: Nets in 6 ... Bulls in 5 ... Pistons in 4 ...Cavs in 5 ... Rockets in 7 ... Spurs in 5 ... Mavs in 7 ... Suns in 5.

Bill Simmons: The only underdog (and they're barely an underdog) I see winning is NJ. I'll be rooting for the Raps, but they have no playoff experience and a shaky coach.

Bobby, Schaumburg, Illinois: If the Bulls get the #1 pick and get Oden. Can we declare a second dynasty in beloved hometown? Oh, and how funny will it be if there is a dribbler down the line and A-Rod tries to karate chop Dice K and Dice K just flat drops him ...Yanks/Sawx ....gotta love it!

Bill Simmons: It's the scariest lottery scenario -- I actually think Durant would be more terrifying than Oden; they'd have Hinrich, Gordon, Ty Thomas (really coming on lately), Deng and Durant as an under-25 nucleus. That's insane.

Paul, Akron Oh: Has Alton from the inferno/gauntlet reached Jordan-like proportions where everyone is afraid of him when it comes down to pressure situations? If that is the case, is Abe the John Starks?

Bill Simmons: Lemme tell you something: Alton switching places with Davis in the Inferno was the greatest sports moment of 2007 so far. We desperately need Gus Johnson doing the announcing for that show -- he would have taken it to another level.

Smoot (New York City): I can deal with steroids damaging the integrity of baseball, football, cycling, and running, but I will NOT stand for cheating when it comes to the truest form of human competition we have: RW/RR Challenge. Danny is about 60 pounds of muscle heavier than a year ago and so roid--ragingly juiced up that I expect him to reveal that he's been wearing a Hanz & Franz suit all season.

Bill Simmons: Come on, the only evidence that Danny's on the juice is that he's gained 35 pounds of muscle, he has a short fuse, he's erratic emotionally and he paces around like a caged pit bull. Other than that, he seems fine.

Beau (Utah): How mad were you when CT got kicked off the challenge for punching Davis? Will we ever see CT and Alton go head-to-head?

Bill Simmons: Three straight Inferno questions! I feel like history has been made here. I was mad when CT got kicked off, but at the same time, we had two of the greatest Masshole Incidents of all-time in the span of 10 days -- CT getting kicked off, then the guy whipping the pizza at the other guy who dropped the foul ball at Fenway on Monday. This could be the year of the Masshole.

Shar (Great Neck, NY): Any thoughts on Hank Aaron refusing to travel when Bonds finally breaks the record? Two thoughts on this: (a) any chance every team in the majors will agree to walk Bonds at every at bat so he doesn't break the record? (b) I heard a radio announcer this morning say that A-Rod is on pace to hit a hundred something home runs and would bet that Aaron would travel to see that. I thought it was funny.

Bill Simmons: I love it. Hank Aaron is the greatest. I'd do the exact same thing if I were him. Although it would be better if he went to the game, watched the homer in person, then stormed off when it happened.

John (Dallas): How do you feel about the whole Joe Crawford thing? He seemed like an ass but a good official. Didn't Bennett Salvatore deserve to get kicked out of the league more than Joe?

Bill Simmons: Long, long, long, long, long overdue. I don't like refs who feel the need to make themselves the show and/or intentionally call everything for the road team because they love getting the home crowd riled up. He did both of these things.

Marc -- Minneapolis: Sports Guy, I have to say, you and I seem to like the same TV shows, so I took your advise and tried to TiVo the first season of The Wire on BET, but I didn't get hooked ... not sure if it was because of the censors or what, but it just was wasn't great for me, man. What up wit that?

Bill Simmons: It wasnt the same on BET -- the HBO shows just don't translate to basic cable, it's like watching a heavily edited porn movie, it just doesn't work.

James (RVC, NY): Who do you think is the most dangerous team for next year out of the teams who missed the playoffs this year?

Bill Simmons: Probably the Celtics with Pierce, Jefferson and whateve theyt get in the draft. I could see them making a Raptor-like leap with a good coach.

Joe Crawford: That's one Tech on Simmons. Dont even look at me or you'll be out of this chat.

Alf (Baltimore, MD): Since we didn't get a running diary on Wrestlemania, is it safe to say that either a) you just didn't watch it or b) you were as disappointed as I was with the show??

Bill Simmons: Disappointed. Severely. Wrestling is in a weird place right now -- in the late-'90s, they pushed the bar so much with the stunts and the content that there's literally nowhere else to go for them. When Hardy did the ladder bump on Edge, that was almost too crazy -- they both could have died. I feel like we're headed that way, something horrible is going to happen in a match soon. And also, the fans have seen so many crazy bumps that they're almost immune to it, it's like the Slam Dunk Contest where every dunk's been done and there are no dunks left to do that will get a huge reaction. You know the WWE is in trouble when people look at Undertaker's WM match as one of the highlights of WM.

Brian, ATL: Bill, can we please have a video of you watching the ping-pong balls in May? AT least put it on youtube b/c either way it will be hilarious.

Bill Simmons: My editors wanted to do this, I refused. I'm flying back and watching it with my dad. I owe him after what happened 10 years ago. Our biggest concern right now is making sure my stepmom is out of the house during the lottery, she could singlehandledly jinx it. And if we win a top-2 pick, you will see me at Sully's in Chucktown that night.

Mike (Los Angeles, CA): Have you ever know a girl as crazy as that chick from the Real World?

Bill Simmons: I assume you mean Brooke from RW Denver. No, she's the craziest chick of all-time who's never been institutionalized or imprisoned. We're at the point where her head could do a 360 and I wouldn't be phased.

Brodie, St. Paul: Best team in the AL? Twins? Yanks? D-Rays? Thoughts.

Bill Simmons: Boston has the most talented team (and they should, it cost $160 million), but I like Minnesota this year, they have the most room to improve as the season goes along because of their young pitchers (Bonser, Perkins, Garza) and their bullpen ... plus they have some proven bats as well as a legit homefield advantage. They scare me the most for the Sept-Oct range. I really like Bonser, he's been shelled a little in April but his stuff is as good as someone like Haren or Beckett, I could see him going on a tear starting tonight. Like the way he carries himself.

Brodie, St. Paul: Big T-wolves fan, and I have to say that for the sake of the good of the League, the Wolves CANNOT end up with one of the top two picks in the lottery. If you thought Elgin Baylor is a great Lottery Bungling Mind, wait and see how insignificant Greg Oden can become when playing on a team managed by the Great Kevin McHale.

Bill Simmons: I agree, you shouldn't be rewarded for being completely inept. McHale has done a worse job than any NBA GM of the past 15 years -- even Isiah -- and should not get Durant or Oden because of it. At the same time, I'd be happy for KG.

Brian-- Yonkers: You endorsing Mike and the M/Dog is hard to take. "Angy" Mike was all over Jason Whitlock this morning b/c JW called Imus stupid and irrelevant a few times. Otherwise love all your stuff, especially the book.

Bill Simmons: Whitlock's right -- Imus was stupid and irrelevant. Hey, what about Big Sexy making an appearance on Oprah? That was the most surreal TV moment of the year.

Billy Knight Atlanta GA: I resent you putting Kevin ahead of me. I have worked VERY HARD to bing the most inept GM in the league. Guess I'll have to show you with this year's picks.

Bill Simmons: Sorry about that, Billy. My bad.

Shahan (New York, NY): I know it's early, but with Dice-K's lack of run support already a theme, are we seeing shades of Pedro's 2003 campaign? (187 IP, 29 GS, 2.22 ERA, 3 CG, 14-4 record due to lack of runs and bullpen featuring Scott "I guess I'm the closer" Williamson.)

Bill Simmons: I'm not worried -- Manny always starts out slow if it's cold out, once he starts hitting, the whole offense will take off. Although Coco Crisp is almost a Section 8 at this point. I was talking to Hench yesterday and Hench said, "Coco had two bunt singles and a sac fly, maybe that will get him going" and I said, "Wait, do you realize how pathetic that just sounded? We're hoping two bunt singles and a sac fly will get our center fielder going?" What a disaster.

Tim: Normal, IL: Where does the intro to the new season of the Inferno rank on the Unintentional Comedy scale. It's gotta be pretty high with all the snarling and running like animals and whatnot ...

Bill Simmons: Mid-90s. It's fantastic.

Tom Wondra: West Bend, WI: If Phoenix gets the 4th overall pick in the NBA draft -- who would you take?

Bill Simmons: Great question. I'd look at it this way -- they're set with Nash, Marion, Amare and Barbosa, and Diaw's a perfect forward coming off the bench because he can play 3 positions, but Raja is probably the weak link -- he's a very good defensive player and 3-point shooter but not much else. So if you upgraded from him to Corey Brewer, your ceiling as a team gets a little higher, and you can work him in and bring him off the bench the first season. That would be my move. Then they could grab a backup PG with one of the other first rounders and one more rebounder with the other one.

Ryan (worcester, ma): At what age do you have to stop watching reality shows that are supposed to be for teenagers? When your daughter becomes one?

Bill Simmons: Yeah, probably around then.

Alec Baldwin: I don't care if you're 35 or 36 Simmons, you are an idiot! An ungrateful human being!

Shaun (Madison WI): Doesn't Isiah Thomas still have to attend the lottery because as of right now all the Bulls have is the option of swapping picks ... what would happen if the #1 pick was the Knicks' envelope?

Bill Simmons: I've been wondering how they'll do this. The NBA should make a rule that, if you make a "swap picks" trade, you still have to represent your "pick" at the lottery ... how great would it be if the Knicks got No. 1 and we had to watch Isiah's forced smile as his temples pulsated?

Jack (Cincinnati): I've ready so many puff pieces on Josh Hamilton that my head is about to explode, but I am now truly excited about the Great Hambino era. Your thoughts?

Bill Simmons: I don't see that one ending well. Let's just say Chris Connelly will end up being involved at some point.

Jack (Ipswich, MA): The Suns appear very unlikely to keep their core together for luxury tax reasons. Don't you think Marion would look good in green?

Bill Simmons: Well, if that's the case, then the NBA needs to figure out a new way to do the luxury tax. If a team outwits everyone else and stockpiles an abnormal amount of assets, they shouldn't be penalized for it. I HATE the luxury tax. It's the single dumbest thing about the NBA right now -- prevents teams from taking a chance or shaking up their team, they're better off doing nothing and hoping they get lucky in the spring.

Joe H. (Orange, NJ): What did you think of A-Rod's HR "trot" last night? It looked to me like a tampon commercial. I'M HAPPY ... I'M FREE ... I'M ALIVE! Only thing missing was a sheer white robe and wild horses in a field of flowers.

Bill Simmons: He also needs to work on his high-five with the third-base coach -- it always plays out like Mickelson high fiving his caddy.

Matt (Washington DC): Isn't that the whole point of a luxury tax or a salary cap? To keep a team from stockpiling an abnormal amount of assets? Why is it so good in the NFL that teams can't keep great teams together and so terrible in the NBA?

Bill Simmons: Yeah, and it's a stupid point. Why would you want to penalize a team from becoming great? Look at the great teams from the '80s -- you really think the Celtics and Lakers could have trotted out their top-8's under the current rules?

DJ (Fort lauderdale, FL): You're picking the Bulls in 5 over the Heat. How is that not an upset?

Bill Simmons: Chicago's favored. I don't see the Miami thing at all -- they have Shaq, Mourning, a banged-up Wade and that's it. They're just not very good.

Kristen (Boulder, CO): Any guesses as to what ABC's NBA playoff/championship theme song will be this year? Will it actually be from this decade?

Bill Simmons: Let's open this up to the chatters. Any ideas? Can they do worse than Rob Thomas? I'm sure they'll try.

Dave (NJ): Are you a fan of the UFC? Now that ESPN is actually covering the sport, I assume you can answer a question on it.

Bill Simmons: I field this question every time I do a chat. I do like the UFC and wish boxing would learn from the way it's organized, run and presented ... after Oscar-Mayweather happens, boxing becomes completely irrelevant and the UFC will pass it.

joe (nyc): ABC is all over Nickelback.

V-Dogg (Concord, NH): They'll probably use Celine Dion's Titanic song, in memory of all the iceberg-crash tanking that went on during the season.

Russ (Chicago IL): Re theme music. If they let the guy who picks Bulls' game music it will be old, white and stale. Maybe Bon Jovi, AC/DC, or John Mellancamp. In other words, straight from the players' iPods to your ears.

Bill Simmons: Mellancamp is a great choice. I hadn't thought of him. He's washed up, he's white and he'll turn off 95% of ABC's audience. He fits every criteria they have for the NBA playoffs.

Mike McDonald, In Your Head: I'll be all over the playoffs this year; count on it, punks.

Brian (Charlotte, NC): Sanjaya Malakar singing Kurtis Blow's 'Basketball' lyrics with a vintage Dr. J. afro wig ...

Frank B (Bethlehem, PA): Alanis Morrisette's "My Humps"

Pablo Escobar: (Boston): I think ABC will pick a Bonnie Tyler song from the '80s ... Can I hear "Holding out for a Hero?"

J.Satts, Denver: I know I'm a homer, but am I the only one who thinks the Nugs have a shot here? AI will prove his worth in the playoffs. Parker can't check him. Talk to me, Goose ...

Bill Simmons: You're a homer. it's not happening. The Spurs are really good.

Brett the Beaver (East Meadow, NY): Bill! Will you finally watch Friday Night Lights?

Bill Simmons: I'm waiting until this summer, then plowing thru the DVDs over two weekends. Looking forward to it.

Jeremy (Dallas, TX): So, after the worst NBA regular season in recent history do you think that the playoffs will live up to last years (the best NBA playoffs I've seen in my lifetime) -- I'm hoping to end with a rematch of last years finals with Dirk and the boys taking home the prize this time. As long as Dirk and D-Wade get into a fist fight, I'd love to see a redo of David and Goliath.

Bill Simmons: I DO think the playoffs will be good -- the Round 1 matchups are great (except for two) and I'm excited for the Dall-SA-Phoenix thing to play out, it's really like the old Foreman-Ali-Frazier thing, depends on who plays who. Phoenix will beat Dallas, Dallas will beat SA, SA will beat Phoenix. The problem is that none of the East teams are good enough to hang with any of those three, so the Finals will stink.

James Whitman, MA: Bill, everyone I know seems to be jumping off the "Lost" bandwagon after the hiatus. My friend and I stuck it out and have been very happy with the second part of this season. I compare it to keeping faith in the Sox and finally getting rewarded. Mr. Eko being killed may have been the '03 ALCS, it hurt, but made us stronger. It looks to us like the writers have started to take it in the right direction and are heading towrds their own '04 ALCS and World Series. Any thoughts?

Bill Simmons: I'm with you, I never gave up on the show and it's been paying off lately. Thought last week's episode was one of the best ever ... amazing writing, well-acted, a huge turn at the end, everything you'd ever want from the show. I do think they pay too much attention to the message boards though, the show where they killed off Paolo and Nikki was too wink-wink to the Internet groundswell against them, there was no reason to kill them off. Other than that, the show's in good shape, I think -- they were juggling too many characters and now we're at the right number.

zoe(atl): Bill, can you rank your top 5 tv shows.

Bill Simmons: Non-reality: Wire, Sopranos, Lost, Curb ... and I don't really have a fifth one.

Bill Simmons: Would have been 24 but I always find myself reading e-mails or magazines this season when that show's on.

mike (Laguna Niguel, Ca): Whose your best bet for this year's Tim Thomas in the playoffs, parlaying some good games into a giant unworthy contract?

Bill Simmons: Hmmmmmmm ... here's the 2007 FA List.

Bill Simmons: This will sound like a weird choice ...

Bill Simmons: But looking at the list, I'd have to go with Vince Carter. He was headed for the max anyway, but he could break a sweat for five weeks, drive to the basket and convince everyone that he gives a crap.

Bill Simmons: Dark horse pick: Melvin Ely.

Bill Simmons: PS: Diop can't count because he always plays hard ... but he could make a lot of money this spring.

Alex (San Francisco, CA): Bill what happened to you and the EPL. You two broke up quicker than Nicole Richie and food.

Bill Simmons: The Oden-Durant thing happened. I was gonna throw myself into the EPL after the NFL season ended but got sucked into college hoops instead. It happens.

Dr. House (NJ): BLASPHEMY! How does The Office, House, and 30 Rock miss your list? The Sopranos is often too slow and boring. Despite a down year, 24 is still one of the all-time greats.

Bill Simmons: I do like 30 Rock, that show's funny. The biggest disappointment this season has been How I Met Your Mother, that could have been a really good show, all the guys went Ross Gellar on us.

Mike -- Coaldale, PA: Have you ever given The Shield a chance? Great show.

Bill Simmons: Can't watch that show because I was in a room with Michael Chiklis once and he was as tall as Muggsy Bogues.

Daniel (Los Angeles): Admit it: the only reason you're ticked Nikki was killed off is because she's scorchingly hot.

Bill Simmons: Yes. I admit it. You just reminded me, I have an idea to save Survivor next year. You know how the two best looking women always get voted off within the first five shows every season? What if they had a season called "Survivor: The Babes and the Hunks?" And everyone on the show was good-looking and dumb? Would you watch this? I would watch this.

Nati: (Laurel, MD): No comment on the Mavs and their strange rest pattern??? Rest your guys instead of eliminating a team that swept the season series on the second-to-last day, but don't rest them on the last day against the Sonics!? Were the Mavs scared of trying and losing?

Bill Simmons: All the Clippers fans were mad about it on Wednesday night when they should have been mad that their team choked at home against a Kings team that tried to tank the game on Sunday. But it was definitely weird. I assume that Dallas wanted GS to pass LAL for the 7th seed so they could play the Lakers, but it's a weird battle plan to make a potential opponent think you're afraid of them.

Jason, NY: I love how "Pettite Scares you." I do the same thing with the Yanks before a Sox/Yanks series: I build up the other team so I'm not as crushed if we lose, then blow off any wins we do get with "It's not over yet, there's still ____ games to go". I'm never comfortable with a lead or a win until said team has been eliminated from playoff contention.

Bill Simmons: Look, Andy Pettitte scares me this weekend. No way he doesn't throw a 5-hitter. Mark it down. The guy can't be stopped. No way we hit him. He'll cut through that Sox lineup like a knife through butter. Bet the house on the Yanks. I'd be happy to get one hit on the guy.

Cobb (NYC): Is this chat going to feature 764 references to Smithwicks like your "sponsor free" NCAA diary?

Bill Simmons: Look, I WISH we had a sponsor for that NCAA Diary. I'd love the chance to make ESPN more money. Hold on, I was just about to make a joke about or ad sales department and I got electroshocked ... lemme just fight off this 10,000 bolts of current. AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!

Eric (New York City): Where are the angry e-mails, those are the funniest part!

Bill Simmons: Havent gotten many of them. Everyone's friendly today. It's spring, the NBA playoffs are starting, NFL Draft coming up, baseball, hockey playoffs ... how can you not be in a good mood? Well, unless you're a Knicks fan?

M.J Vera (Las Vegas): If Oden came out and admitted he tried pot once in awhile like the football players did, and that's why he's so mellow, would that give you any second thoughts on the Celtics potentially drafting him?

Bill Simmons: Glad you brought this up -- that was the dumbest sports story of the year so far. I wouldn't trust an NFL Draft pick who HADN'T tried pot. It's college! it would be one thing if it was coke, heroin or crystal meth, but pot? Really?

Marc -- McWillie Ok: Any excitement at all about Mayweather/De La Hoya?

Bill Simmons: Tons of excitement. Oodles. Please watch 24/7 on HBO, it will get you in the right frame of mind.

George (Richmond, VA): I can't recall you ever commenting on "The Black Donnellys." Did you give that show a try or not?

Bill Simmons: Gave it a brief whirl ... didn't take.

By the way, we're going into Speed Mode now for the final stretch of the chat.

Dan (Amelia, OH): Hey, Simmons, I'm tired of hearing about how Red Sox fans are fed up with Coco Crisp. Andy Marte hasn't exactly been the second coming of George Brett in Cleveland. Boo-freaking-hoo.

Bill Simmons: Excellent point.

Monte (philly, pa): Favorite Mayweather? Floyd Jr., Roger or Floyd Sr.? I think it's Roger, hands down. You better be watching Mayweather/De La Hoya 24-7.

Bill Simmons: Roger is my favorite. VH1 needs to give him a dating show; he's like an older, goofier Flava Flav.

Greg (Ny): Will Tony die in the finale of Sopranos?

Bill Simmons: Yes.

Curtis, Columbia: What would you do if your team drafted Josh McRoberts? I can't figure out anything that would help that pain.

Bill Simmons: NBA or WNBA?

Sat (Jersey): Will Sloan get naked on Entourage?

Bill Simmons: Let's hope so.

Deion Branch (Seattle): Will I be worth the Seahawks not having a first-round pick next weekend?

Bill Simmons: Not if they keep using you to stretch the field when your specialty is going across the middle.

Greg Oden (Columbus): Will I be happy in Memphis?

Bill Simmons: Sure. It's quiet and nobody will bother you.

Chris (MI): Come on Sports Guy ... I read everything you write ... and I'm one of five Hawks fans left ... they could get Oden/Durant and Conley/Law if the ping-pong balls cooperate. That's exciting, right?

Bill Simmons: Of course! This Hawks thing is amazing. They could get a top-3 and something in the 11-14 range (thanks to Indy), or they could get NOTHING.

Danny (Boston, NY): With the fourth pick in the 2007 NBA draft, the Boston Celtics select ... Spencer Hawes, C from the University of Washington. Your reaction?

Bill Simmons: That's not funny.

Aaron Nashville TN: Will Kobe be passive against the Suns like he was in last year's playoffs?

Bill Simmons: I think it will be the exact opposite -- he'll try to score 60 a game and won't give a crap about involving his teammates. He knows they don't have a chance and will use the round to make a splash like he did last month with the 50-point streak.

PattyO (Austin): Maximo Park or The Fratellis?

Bill Simmons: Like the Fratellis -- interesting album. some really good music out right now, 30--40 songs I love in the past 3-4 months.

Dave (Cambridge, MA): Apparently the Grizzlies are considering Boston's Chris Wallace to replace Jerry West. Would that be a good move?

Bill Simmons: They realize he traded for Vin Baker and set the Celtics back five years, right?

Jared (Atlanta): Am I the only one expecting Tim Duncan to go off in the playofs like Clint Eastwood at the end of "Unforgiven" and just wipe everybody out? You know Timmaaaa's not happy about losing Game 7 at home to the Mavs last season and he's healthy again. I have a feeling that if the playoffs were "The Departed," at the end Tim Duncan's going to by Mark Wahlberg minus the plastic bodysuit.

Bill Simmons: It's an interesting point -- everyone forgets that they were a boneheaded foul from Manu away from beating Dallas, and there's no way they would have choked against Miami like Dallas did. I worry about them covering somebody's elite perimeter guy, that's their biggest weakness this season.

Ben (Charlotte): Bill, you seem to be in to indie rock, mind if i throw a couple bands out there? Broken Social Scene, Pinback, or Minus the Bear?

Bill Simmons: Good choices ... the new Modest Mouse album is really good (the return of Johnny Marr!), look out for Voxtrot as well.

Chip (NYC): Seriously, what does it take to get into one of your chats? I never read your book because I'm a Yankee fan and I could die in peace nine years earlier so I can't suck up to you about it. I'm on edge here William. It's the first nice day in months and I'm stuck at work rather than looking at hot chicks in short dresses -- throw me a bone!

Bill Simmons: Settle down Chipper!

Matt Millen (Detroit, MI): Im eyeing Calvin Johnson like a juicy steak.

Bill Simmons: You know what's funny? They SHOULD take him. He's the best pick. I hate the logic that they can't take him because they've already taken three WRs -- two of those guys are sunk costs, you can't do anything about them. The draft should only be about that year's team and which of the best available prospects would help it. Everyone says Johnson can't miss, and their No. 2 WR was Mike Furrey, for God's sake. I just think it would be crazy if they didn't take Johnson.

Dallas, Carrollton, TX: You think Chiklis is short, I saw Kiefer in Shereveport after the Mr. Brooks filiming (new Costner/Demi Moore movie) and he was wearing super tight jeans, a jean jacket that looked like it had some studs on the sleeves and holding his girl's purse or his own man bag. I've never looked at 24 the same again. Plus he's legitimately 5' 6". Costner though in person is straight out of Tin Cup. AWESOME!

Bill Simmons: Yeah, I've written about this before -- Kiefer is 5-foot-6 max.

Josh, Denver: Who do you have in the De La Hoya/Mayweather fight? Whats the odds that one of the elder Mayweathers totally lose it and get into it with "pitbull" Freddy Roach ... Have you watched 24/7 ... these Mayweathers are crazy.

Bill Simmons: I don't see any way Oscar can win. I really don't. He lost to Sugar Shane twice and Mayweather is like Sugar Shane at warp speed. It's going to be a very fun fight right up to the exact moment when it starts ... and then everyone's gonna slowly realize, "Uh-oh, Oscar can't touch this guy."

Bill Clinton (New York, NY): I have spoke with Calvin and he says he did not inhale.

AW (PHX): The worst part about living on the west coast is that when your chat is over, I will still have 4 to 5 hours to kill before happy hour. Any suggestions what to do with the time?

Bill Simmons: Hmmmmmmm ... go out, buy the new Best Of Larry Sanders DVD and bang out about seven episodes. Although I will never forgive Shandling for leaving off "The Roast" episode.

Bill Simmons: An absolutely surreal DVD, by the way, There are 8 hours of extras where Shandling interviews anyone who was ever on the show -- it's like he can't let go of the show, I can't describe how strange it is. The LA Times had a really good article about it a few weeks ago.

Bill Simmons: Google Garry Shandling, LA Times and DVD and you'll find it.

Jonny (Summersville, WV): Did you ever check out 'Extras' on HBO? Not your cup of tea?

Bill Simmons: Nah, I don't like English people.

Mike, St. Paul, MN: Speaking of "Best Of" DVDs. Whoever picks the best of's for the SNL DVDs needs to be fired. I bought the Phil Hartman one and it was terrible. It didn't even have Dysfunctional Family Feud.

Bill Simmons: Couldn't agree more. I don't know why they haven't created an iTunes-type Web site yet where you can just create your own DVDs from SNL sketches. Wouldn't that make a kajillion dollars?

Mike (Baltimore, MD): Why do some people throwing out the first pitch wear a glove?

Bill Simmons: Great question. Never thought about that before ... you're right, why would you wear a glove?

DM, OH: We deserve every episode of Larry Sanders on DVD -- why o why are they releasing a greatest hits instead of season 2?

Bill Simmons: I know, I know ... every freaking show on the planet has every season on DVD and the one show that SHOULD only has a "Best Of." Classic.

Sridhar (TX): SA did not lose to Dallas because of the foul. They still had the last shot in regulation and they still had the overtime to win it. So please stop saying that DALLAS won because of Manu.

Bill Simmons: They won because of Manu.

Jason (ATL): Alright, Simmons, what's your top 5 bands that get no love from mainstream media??

Bill Simmons: Silversun Pickups, definitely ... that album was unbelievable. "Lazy Eye" isn't even one of the best three songs on it, and that's the only one they've been playing so far.

Bill Simmons: Mute Math is underrated. The Hold Steady. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Voxtrot. Blue October. The Cloud Room.

Tim (Gainesville, FL): Sebastian Telfair just got arrested for having a gun ... any thoughts?

Bill Simmons: I keep getting e-mails about this ... is this confirmed?

Adam (Frederick, MD): Went into a music trader shop last week to buy Big Red Letter Day by Buffalo Tom. They did not have it, am I old still listening to them and wanting to buy an album I lost a while back?

Bill Simmons: Hell no! Buffalo Tom and Cake were the two most underrated bands of the '90s. You should buy BT's greatest hits though; normally I'm against buying greatest hits albums but that's a murderer's row.

Dan (Tewksbury MA): August 16 is the 40th anniversary of Tony Conigliaro's injury. It's time to retire his number. Thoughts?

Bill Simmons: With all due respect to Tony C, I'm against this one. I don't think the Celtics should have retired Reggie Lewis's number either, as much as I loved the guy. You can't retire someone's number based on the premise of what they COULD have done.

MC Welk (SLC): Telfair confirmation:

Brian (Chicago): I credit you for the Silversun Pickups recommendation a few chats ago. Can't stop listening to it. Thanks.

Bill Simmons: They played Kimmel's show on Tuesday and he never told me so I missed it.

Tom (Centreville, VA): Saw Silversun Pickups live a few weeks back with Snow Patrol. They stunk. The sound system was terrible. I couldn;t understand a word. Then I get in the car after the concert and hear one of their songs. I thought: Where the hell were they tonight? So I should buy the CD and hear it all?

Bill Simmons: It's unclear whether they're a good live band -- I thought they were subpar on Kimmel's show actually. They might be a studio band.

Graham (CO): Simmons, who ya got the Pats taking in the 1st round? They are doing everything right this offseason. I am just glad you guys have to come to the track in Indy this season.

Bill Simmons: I won't pretend to be an expert -- as long as they end up with an LB and a safety I'm happy.

Joe (Norton, MA): How can South Park not be in any man's top 5 favorite shows?

Bill Simmons: Excellent point -- although that show's in its own category; you can't really compare it to Sopranos or the Wire.

Sebastian Telfair (lockup): They said I had one phone call, but I elected to chat with Simmons, instead. Anyone know a good lawyer?

Joe (Washington, DC): Mute Math is excellent, especially live. Their drummer duct tapes ear phones to his head. Check it out

Bill Simmons: Yes -- unbelievable live band. Kimmel said he's the best live band they've ever had on his show, although Huey Lewis was second on that list, so take that rating with a grain of salt.

Pat (Boston): You may have not been told, but one of the worst parts of the spring this year is the Sox replacing Jerry Trupiano with two generic Joe Buck-esque hot shots on the radio. As the only sub-80-year-old who listens to every game on the radio, these guys just don't sound right with Castiglione, they've got no connections to '04, and if the Sox ever start hitting some dingers I'm going to seriously miss the "Way Back!" call ...

Bill Simmons: Heard about this ... reviews seem to be mixed. I dont understand the logic of matching two guys together who have no chemistry at all, then hoping it works out. Never made sense to me -- whether it's radio or TV.

Mike (New York): How far can the Suns go this year in the playoffs? Can they beat Dallas in 7?

Bill Simmons: I'm worried about Nash, I thought he looked more and more tired as the season went along and he is coming off two straight 90-plus game seasons in a row ... that's the biggest red flag to me. They peaked in January and now I'm not as sold on them ... if I had to bet my life on one team, I'd pick the Spurs.

Mike (Baltimore, MD): Think there is any chance the Pistons have an '04 run, Chauncey is in a contract year, Closer needs a championship, Prince always plays, and they are nearly as dinged up. No one gave them a chance then either.

Bill Simmons: I would be shocked if they didn't come out of the East. Shocked. Unfortunately, that could lead to a Spurs-Pistons Finals ... kill me now.

Jon (Tempe): The actress who plays Sloan on Entourage is in an older indie movie where she gets naked. The movie is called "100 Girls." Just thought I would pass that on.

Rob (Houston): If Silversun Pickups opened for the Smashing Pumpkins on the Pumpkins reunion tour, how would people know when the other band came out?

Jim, Boston Massachusetts: Hey Bill, who ya got wining the NBA Finals?

Bill Simmons: All right, here's my pick: I was going to take SA over Detroit, but since I picked SA over Cleveland before the season started, I'll stick with that one. What the hell? Stranger things have happened than a one-man team making the Finals in a subpar conference.

Evan NYC: SG -- have you seen Planet Earth yet? Best show on TV.

Bill Simmons: I even have the DVD coming on April 24th when it's released. My kid actually enjoys this show ... and I feel like she's learning something, unlike with the Teletubbies, who are creepy and androgynous and need to be stopped.

Stuck in Corporate Tax: Kill me, this class will never end. Sports Guy, give me a link that will eat up some time.

Bill Simmons: Here's a link that will chew up the next 23 minutes of your day: The greatest boxing match that nobody knows about, Ron Lyle vs. George Foreman with Howard Cosell announcing. This will never be topped. Make sure you watch the whole fight.

Jason(Missouri): Just thought you'd like to know that Pujols is currently putting together one of the better beards in recent sports history. It's almost as if he had his piss-poor start, got slapped by Marlon Brando and told to act like a man, and voila, magic happens. I'd like to see A-Rod try and grow something, although he'd probably have to change his lipstick color to match.

Kristin (Denver): Where's the girl love? When's the Sports Gal chat?

Bill Simmons: As soon as the temperature dips below 20 degrees in hell, we'll have one.

Scott (Omaha, NE): New Buffalo Tom album comes out July 10th. Small tour on east coast and midwest is rumored!

Kmart, California: Raptors-Nets: Do you think any other arena is going to get as loud and angry as the Air Canada Centre, when Prince Carter steps on the floor? The city (Toronto) is in a frenzy.

Bill Simmons: Never. In NBA history, it will have only been topped once: Game 6 of the '86 Finals, the game after Sampson attacked Jerry Sichting and the Garden crowd unleashed about as much hatred as 15,000 fans could unleash in the following game (by the way, he had deer in the headlights and finished something like 2 for 15). People of Toronto, I urge you -- don't let up. The guy screwed you over. Don't let him beat you in the playoffs. You can singlehandedly affect the outcome of this series -- you can break him, he's not a tough player. You are doing this for every fanbase who ever got screwed over by a star athlete who went somewhere else and decided to start giving a crap again. That's your mission, now come through for us.

Eric (New York City): Pacers/Celtics 1991 playoffs on ESPN Classic, though you'd like to know.

Bill Simmons: Whoops, I gotta go. Thanks to everyone who mailed in a question ( we had over 36,000). Sorry we didn't get to everybody. Enjoy the weekend and GO SOX!